The Student Room Group

Do you need to bring a laptop around with you in Uni?

So I'll be starting Uni this September and have recently been looking at laptops, as you do since everyone seems to get one. Thing is, I already know that I'm going to splurge a "little" and get myself an ipad air 5, which I'll mainly use for personal use (gaming, art, etc.) but I'll also use it for note taking where I can.

Because of this, I went into laptop hunting in full budget mode because I wasn't sure what I'd even use it for other than typing up essays/reports and playing low-intensity games on steam. I went through a period of thinking "do I even need one?" and considering just getting a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse for the ipad but having thought about it, it would be nice to have it separate and probably be a bit less fiddly.

Anyway, to get to the point, I've narrowed it down to two options - some refurbished one for £300 that seems decent OR my brother's offer to sell me his for £180.

Now, here's my dilemma: My brother's offer is a fantastic one - I'd be saving a lot of money, it performs well and having borrowed it often enough, I know that it does everything I need it to do. The only downside is that it's a very wide screen and definitely not lightweight - carrying it with me is essentially out of the question. So, would this matter? If I would be totally fine to just leave it at home and never have a laptop actually out and about or in lectures then it would be perfect. I just have no idea if this would impact me at all - is a laptop at all necessary to actively have/bring with you?

For reference, I would be studying either Pharmacy or Biomed, so nothing computery. I would also be studying at home, I don't focus well in public, so it's not like I'd be in the library all that much.
Sorry for such a long winded question! I have a tendency to add way too much extra stuff when typing yk? Thank you for reading this far! :smile:
Get it all out you'll get yourself the chatterbox badge!
Do you want to be pragmatic or do want to be decadent.

I personally would purchase the computer my brother is offering me. I would not be using it for games but fancy science molecular modeling and citations and referencing.
Original post by s1eepy
So I'll be starting Uni this September and have recently been looking at laptops, as you do since everyone seems to get one. Thing is, I already know that I'm going to splurge a "little" and get myself an ipad air 5, which I'll mainly use for personal use (gaming, art, etc.) but I'll also use it for note taking where I can.

Because of this, I went into laptop hunting in full budget mode because I wasn't sure what I'd even use it for other than typing up essays/reports and playing low-intensity games on steam. I went through a period of thinking "do I even need one?" and considering just getting a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse for the ipad but having thought about it, it would be nice to have it separate and probably be a bit less fiddly.

Anyway, to get to the point, I've narrowed it down to two options - some refurbished one for £300 that seems decent OR my brother's offer to sell me his for £180.

Now, here's my dilemma: My brother's offer is a fantastic one - I'd be saving a lot of money, it performs well and having borrowed it often enough, I know that it does everything I need it to do. The only downside is that it's a very wide screen and definitely not lightweight - carrying it with me is essentially out of the question. So, would this matter? If I would be totally fine to just leave it at home and never have a laptop actually out and about or in lectures then it would be perfect. I just have no idea if this would impact me at all - is a laptop at all necessary to actively have/bring with you?

For reference, I would be studying either Pharmacy or Biomed, so nothing computery. I would also be studying at home, I don't focus well in public, so it's not like I'd be in the library all that much.
Sorry for such a long winded question! I have a tendency to add way too much extra stuff when typing yk? Thank you for reading this far! :smile:

Hi there!

I study Biomedical Science at Surrey so probably have a good feel of requirements for Biomed/pharmacy. In our lectures, the majority of people use tech, either laptops or ipads/tablets. Depending on how many lectures you have in person, I would say yes, you would have to carry your method of note taking around with you, so sounds like the big laptop would not be ideal for that. Last year, I had a 15ish inch laptop that weighed 2.5kg and with a coffee/water and snacks for the day my back always used to hurt!

However I would suggest something different: buy your brother's laptop, that is a great deal, and use that as a desktop, ie it stays in your room. Take your ipad with you to lectures for taking notes. This is a good balance, and lots of people on my course do this, as the ipad is easy to carry around and take notes on, but when you want a bigger screen to work on assignments at home you have the bigger laptop. Also, if you do need to do work on a bigger screen on campus, you can use the library computers, so no need to transport the bigger laptop around.
I hope that helps!

- Michelle :smile:
3rd year Biomedical Science student at University of Surrey
Reply 3
Original post by University of Surrey Student Rep
Hi there!

I study Biomedical Science at Surrey so probably have a good feel of requirements for Biomed/pharmacy. In our lectures, the majority of people use tech, either laptops or ipads/tablets. Depending on how many lectures you have in person, I would say yes, you would have to carry your method of note taking around with you, so sounds like the big laptop would not be ideal for that. Last year, I had a 15ish inch laptop that weighed 2.5kg and with a coffee/water and snacks for the day my back always used to hurt!

However I would suggest something different: buy your brother's laptop, that is a great deal, and use that as a desktop, ie it stays in your room. Take your ipad with you to lectures for taking notes. This is a good balance, and lots of people on my course do this, as the ipad is easy to carry around and take notes on, but when you want a bigger screen to work on assignments at home you have the bigger laptop. Also, if you do need to do work on a bigger screen on campus, you can use the library computers, so no need to transport the bigger laptop around.
I hope that helps!

- Michelle :smile:
3rd year Biomedical Science student at University of Surrey

Thank you so much! That's a relief to hear that I could do that, it just saves me so much.

So if I brought the ipad for note taking like you say, do you mean writing by hand (like with the apple pencil) or with a keyboard attachment? It's just that if I'd be fine writing rather than typing then I'd probably prefer to just use paper and make separate neater notes on the ipad as a form of revision - just depends on whether that would work or look weird. I'd still bring my ipad with me just not use it in lectures.

I just care a lot about fitting in (call me a sheep if you will haha) so I don't want to be the only one writing stuff by hand or using a good old pen and paper. Sorry I'm being so specific about my question! It's an anxiety thing, like I need to know almost exactly what my plan is before doing anything haha. Thank you so much again, I really appreciate your help!
Original post by s1eepy
So I'll be starting Uni this September and have recently been looking at laptops, as you do since everyone seems to get one. Thing is, I already know that I'm going to splurge a "little" and get myself an ipad air 5, which I'll mainly use for personal use (gaming, art, etc.) but I'll also use it for note taking where I can.

Because of this, I went into laptop hunting in full budget mode because I wasn't sure what I'd even use it for other than typing up essays/reports and playing low-intensity games on steam. I went through a period of thinking "do I even need one?" and considering just getting a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse for the ipad but having thought about it, it would be nice to have it separate and probably be a bit less fiddly.

Anyway, to get to the point, I've narrowed it down to two options - some refurbished one for £300 that seems decent OR my brother's offer to sell me his for £180.

Now, here's my dilemma: My brother's offer is a fantastic one - I'd be saving a lot of money, it performs well and having borrowed it often enough, I know that it does everything I need it to do. The only downside is that it's a very wide screen and definitely not lightweight - carrying it with me is essentially out of the question. So, would this matter? If I would be totally fine to just leave it at home and never have a laptop actually out and about or in lectures then it would be perfect. I just have no idea if this would impact me at all - is a laptop at all necessary to actively have/bring with you?

For reference, I would be studying either Pharmacy or Biomed, so nothing computery. I would also be studying at home, I don't focus well in public, so it's not like I'd be in the library all that much.
Sorry for such a long winded question! I have a tendency to add way too much extra stuff when typing yk? Thank you for reading this far! :smile:


Hi,

Personally, I find that having a laptop for University helps me keep my notes and work all organised, I know it can be annoying having to carry around a laptop all day but it's just an essential thing to have to keep your work in one place! But if you are going to take your notes on your Ipad then maybe you won't need to carry your laptop (if you buy it of your brother). You could just keep it at home and use it when you do your work!

I know DMU has lockers that student's can use to put their stuff in but I don't know how you would feel about leaving your laptop in one but that is up to you! However I think you have to pay to get a locker but it depends on your University.

Another option if you want to save money is just to do your notes on pen and paper but as I said making notes on a device is an easier way to keep all your work together in one place. Most materials for University are online nowadays anyway! So I personally think it is necessary to have a laptop for University but its completely up to you whether you buy your brother's laptop , £180 is a good price for one after all so it probably will be worth the purchase.

I hope this has helped

-Tianna :smile:
(edited 1 year ago)
I do vet med and most of the time for lectures etc I bring my tablet (I use a Samsung S6 Lite that has a pen) and I also brought a bluetooth keyboard for it. It's good for typing up rough notes in lectures and it's light, just fits into my normal bag and it does all the basic things. I can also make mind maps etc on it which I started recently. I have to charge it like once a week. But my main man is my gaming laptop, which is big and heavy and has an awful battery, but I find using it at home/bringing it to the library/coffee shops to work on much easier. I like a big screen and I like using it overall. I actually do hand written notes a lot so theoretically it doesn't matter what I use to open the slides, but I do prefer my laptop. I also do use it for gaming occasionally hence got this one, but it is also better for typing essays etc.
Original post by s1eepy
So I'll be starting Uni this September and have recently been looking at laptops, as you do since everyone seems to get one. Thing is, I already know that I'm going to splurge a "little" and get myself an ipad air 5, which I'll mainly use for personal use (gaming, art, etc.) but I'll also use it for note taking where I can.

Because of this, I went into laptop hunting in full budget mode because I wasn't sure what I'd even use it for other than typing up essays/reports and playing low-intensity games on steam. I went through a period of thinking "do I even need one?" and considering just getting a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse for the ipad but having thought about it, it would be nice to have it separate and probably be a bit less fiddly.

Anyway, to get to the point, I've narrowed it down to two options - some refurbished one for £300 that seems decent OR my brother's offer to sell me his for £180.

Now, here's my dilemma: My brother's offer is a fantastic one - I'd be saving a lot of money, it performs well and having borrowed it often enough, I know that it does everything I need it to do. The only downside is that it's a very wide screen and definitely not lightweight - carrying it with me is essentially out of the question. So, would this matter? If I would be totally fine to just leave it at home and never have a laptop actually out and about or in lectures then it would be perfect. I just have no idea if this would impact me at all - is a laptop at all necessary to actively have/bring with you?

For reference, I would be studying either Pharmacy or Biomed, so nothing computery. I would also be studying at home, I don't focus well in public, so it's not like I'd be in the library all that much.
Sorry for such a long winded question! I have a tendency to add way too much extra stuff when typing yk? Thank you for reading this far! :smile:


Hey @s1eepy

As long as you are able to take notes, like on your iPad, then no it shouldn't matter if you do not have your laptop! However you choose to take notes is truly up to you, and if you are happy with your iPad, then I would go with that. As @University of Surrey Student Rep says, you can use your laptop at home for coursework etc. so it should not be a problem. Plus, uni libraries usually have computers to use/loan so if you do choose to stay and work on campus/in the library, that is another option for you.

I hope this helps :smile:
Sara
Original post by s1eepy
Thank you so much! That's a relief to hear that I could do that, it just saves me so much.

So if I brought the ipad for note taking like you say, do you mean writing by hand (like with the apple pencil) or with a keyboard attachment? It's just that if I'd be fine writing rather than typing then I'd probably prefer to just use paper and make separate neater notes on the ipad as a form of revision - just depends on whether that would work or look weird. I'd still bring my ipad with me just not use it in lectures.

I just care a lot about fitting in (call me a sheep if you will haha) so I don't want to be the only one writing stuff by hand or using a good old pen and paper. Sorry I'm being so specific about my question! It's an anxiety thing, like I need to know almost exactly what my plan is before doing anything haha. Thank you so much again, I really appreciate your help!

Hi! Not the person you replied to but I've found in my lectures that people with tablets in lectures usually use a tablet pen (like the Apple pencil) and the keyboard is rare. I would also consider thinking about how you want to write up your notes. If you want to get your notes more or less done by the end of the lecture, using a keyboard may be faster. My friend who uses her tablet for handwritten notes likes to write on the PDF of the lecture slides about the additional stuff the lecturer talks about that isn't on the slides already. This could be helpful if the lecturer moves along the slides quickly. You could also pre-make notes based on the slides too.

Overall, I'd say do what works best for you and your study methods for things like exam revision. The majority of people probably aren't paying attention to the way others take their notes so the classic pen and paper would be equally fine!

Hope this helps.

- Sophia (Student Ambassador)
Original post by s1eepy
So I'll be starting Uni this September and have recently been looking at laptops, as you do since everyone seems to get one. Thing is, I already know that I'm going to splurge a "little" and get myself an ipad air 5, which I'll mainly use for personal use (gaming, art, etc.) but I'll also use it for note taking where I can.

Because of this, I went into laptop hunting in full budget mode because I wasn't sure what I'd even use it for other than typing up essays/reports and playing low-intensity games on steam. I went through a period of thinking "do I even need one?" and considering just getting a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse for the ipad but having thought about it, it would be nice to have it separate and probably be a bit less fiddly.

Anyway, to get to the point, I've narrowed it down to two options - some refurbished one for £300 that seems decent OR my brother's offer to sell me his for £180.

Now, here's my dilemma: My brother's offer is a fantastic one - I'd be saving a lot of money, it performs well and having borrowed it often enough, I know that it does everything I need it to do. The only downside is that it's a very wide screen and definitely not lightweight - carrying it with me is essentially out of the question. So, would this matter? If I would be totally fine to just leave it at home and never have a laptop actually out and about or in lectures then it would be perfect. I just have no idea if this would impact me at all - is a laptop at all necessary to actively have/bring with you?

For reference, I would be studying either Pharmacy or Biomed, so nothing computery. I would also be studying at home, I don't focus well in public, so it's not like I'd be in the library all that much.
Sorry for such a long winded question! I have a tendency to add way too much extra stuff when typing yk? Thank you for reading this far! :smile:


@s1eepy

It’s all about preference and what will be most helpful when it comes to revision whether you prefer paper or a screen.

I normally print slides and scribble on them, but to be more eco-friendly and to save money it could be an idea to use your tablet to take notes.

A lot of students bring their laptops for lectures, but the problem is charging it, the additional weight and carrying it around.

If you are comfortable using a tablet, use a tablet.

All the best,

Oluwatosin 2nd year podiatry student University of Huddersfield
Original post by s1eepy
So I'll be starting Uni this September and have recently been looking at laptops, as you do since everyone seems to get one. Thing is, I already know that I'm going to splurge a "little" and get myself an ipad air 5, which I'll mainly use for personal use (gaming, art, etc.) but I'll also use it for note taking where I can.

Because of this, I went into laptop hunting in full budget mode because I wasn't sure what I'd even use it for other than typing up essays/reports and playing low-intensity games on steam. I went through a period of thinking "do I even need one?" and considering just getting a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse for the ipad but having thought about it, it would be nice to have it separate and probably be a bit less fiddly.

Anyway, to get to the point, I've narrowed it down to two options - some refurbished one for £300 that seems decent OR my brother's offer to sell me his for £180.

Now, here's my dilemma: My brother's offer is a fantastic one - I'd be saving a lot of money, it performs well and having borrowed it often enough, I know that it does everything I need it to do. The only downside is that it's a very wide screen and definitely not lightweight - carrying it with me is essentially out of the question. So, would this matter? If I would be totally fine to just leave it at home and never have a laptop actually out and about or in lectures then it would be perfect. I just have no idea if this would impact me at all - is a laptop at all necessary to actively have/bring with you?

For reference, I would be studying either Pharmacy or Biomed, so nothing computery. I would also be studying at home, I don't focus well in public, so it's not like I'd be in the library all that much.
Sorry for such a long winded question! I have a tendency to add way too much extra stuff when typing yk? Thank you for reading this far! :smile:

Hey there @s1eepy !
I can't speak specifically for your course but as a general rule of thumb, universities recommend bringing with you some sort of technological device as you mainly use it in seminars for research. So if you wanted to get an iPad and do your research on that then it would be absolutely fine but you find most people have a laptop with them. Lectures aren't so bad because sometimes you don't even take notes and if you do it's just little shorthand bits to respond to in the seminars. Seminars are more intimate settings with less students in so it's not so much your lecturer just talking at you, you tend to do more practical tasks.

By all means buy the laptop from your brother, however if you say you don't want to bring it around with you then I'd hate for you to buy it and then get to university and find out you do actually need to bring a laptop with you and then you'll have wasted your money and have to get a separate laptop. Although, as I said you can just use your iPad for seminar work. I think having a laptop is definitely worthwhile at uni because most submissions are online and for me personally I find it easier to do the essential reading for the week on my laptop rather than on my phone. It's completely up to you, as you say you wouldn't be using it in the library and even so most uni libraries come with a room full of computers.

Is your lecturer likely to ask you to get the slides up on a device or any diagrams you're supposed to be analysing up close? I've had situations in seminars where the lecturer has last minute emailed something to us all that I wouldn't be able to fully see on my phone. Even sometimes they ask us to create mini-presentations in the seminar groups or plan out our essays and for me personally I wouldn't be able to do that on my phone or on paper.

You've just got to be prepared for every possible thing that could come up and whilst you know yourself best, I think it would be useful to have a smaller laptop or iPad you can bring to uni initially until you find out what's what.

Hope this helped!
Lucy - Digital Student Ambassador SHU
Original post by s1eepy
So I'll be starting Uni this September and have recently been looking at laptops, as you do since everyone seems to get one. Thing is, I already know that I'm going to splurge a "little" and get myself an ipad air 5, which I'll mainly use for personal use (gaming, art, etc.) but I'll also use it for note taking where I can.

Because of this, I went into laptop hunting in full budget mode because I wasn't sure what I'd even use it for other than typing up essays/reports and playing low-intensity games on steam. I went through a period of thinking "do I even need one?" and considering just getting a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse for the ipad but having thought about it, it would be nice to have it separate and probably be a bit less fiddly.

Anyway, to get to the point, I've narrowed it down to two options - some refurbished one for £300 that seems decent OR my brother's offer to sell me his for £180.

Now, here's my dilemma: My brother's offer is a fantastic one - I'd be saving a lot of money, it performs well and having borrowed it often enough, I know that it does everything I need it to do. The only downside is that it's a very wide screen and definitely not lightweight - carrying it with me is essentially out of the question. So, would this matter? If I would be totally fine to just leave it at home and never have a laptop actually out and about or in lectures then it would be perfect. I just have no idea if this would impact me at all - is a laptop at all necessary to actively have/bring with you?

For reference, I would be studying either Pharmacy or Biomed, so nothing computery. I would also be studying at home, I don't focus well in public, so it's not like I'd be in the library all that much.
Sorry for such a long winded question! I have a tendency to add way too much extra stuff when typing yk? Thank you for reading this far! :smile:


Hi there,

It's great to hear you will soon be starting University life!

Deciding what laptop/tablet to use for university is an important decision as it's what you will take all of your study notes on and potentially depending on the structure of your course assignment and exams.

I personally purchased a lightweight laptop. I find taking notes on a laptop is the most convenient method however as you mentioned you could connect a keyboard to a tablet so it is really down to your personal preference. One of my best friends at university opted to use a Ipad with a keyboard and he said it was great for taking notes. Either way I would definitely opt for a lightweight weight device as you will have to carry it around with you for a lot of your university time. As others have suggested you could take your brother up on his offer of the laptop and use that as a desktop device and use it for work, assignments and gaming when back from lectures and seminars whilst using your tablet when around the university campus.

Really hope this helps :smile: - Kyle Sheffield Hallam Student Ambassador
Original post by s1eepy
Thank you so much! That's a relief to hear that I could do that, it just saves me so much.

So if I brought the ipad for note taking like you say, do you mean writing by hand (like with the apple pencil) or with a keyboard attachment? It's just that if I'd be fine writing rather than typing then I'd probably prefer to just use paper and make separate neater notes on the ipad as a form of revision - just depends on whether that would work or look weird. I'd still bring my ipad with me just not use it in lectures.

I just care a lot about fitting in (call me a sheep if you will haha) so I don't want to be the only one writing stuff by hand or using a good old pen and paper. Sorry I'm being so specific about my question! It's an anxiety thing, like I need to know almost exactly what my plan is before doing anything haha. Thank you so much again, I really appreciate your help!

As mentioned by others, most people who use an iPad use a pencil rather than a keyboard attachment, but plenty of people also make written notes. If you are happy to do that then it is actually great to write handwritten notes, it is proven to be better for memorising notes (personally I would never be able to write fast enough!) but if you are happy to handwrite, it is better for you. That being said, the majority of people tend to use laptops just because it's faster as mentioned, and you can make notes alongside the lectures slides (although if handwriting, you could print the lecture slides beforehand if you wanted to and make notes on them). But there are still plenty of people who handwrite, especially in first year, I would say about 1/3 handwrite in first year and this decreases through the years, to final year where maybe 1/5 or 1/6 handwrite.

It's up to you. I know this probably won't help but I will say it anyway - trust me, no one will be looking at your note-taking method or judging you for it! Uni lectures are fast-paced, you don't have time to be looking around the room, you will be focused on doing your own writing/typing. I know that doesn't help anxiety but please try to tell yourself that whatever method you choose, there will be other people doing the same thing and therefore you will fit in!
My suggestion: buy your brother's laptop, leave it in your room, carry your ipad and an apple pencil to lectures as a backup but use paper and pen to take notes.

I hope that helps!
- Michelle :smile:
3rd year Biomedical Science student at Surrey

Edited to add: I don't know which Uni you're looking at applying for, but I saw that Hallam students said that you might be asked to get up pictures etc in seminars. I guess it depends on the Uni, but I have never had this happen, as many people handwrite and therefore it would not be fair to exclude them from this. The only time we ever have to use tech is for computer practicals/coursework, in which case the lecturer books a computer room and everyone uses the Uni computers, no one uses their own laptops, as we use specific programmes that are only available on the University computers.
(edited 1 year ago)

Quick Reply

Latest